Condominium Insurance Claims Attorneys in Louisiana
Experienced representation for condo owners and HOAs in the Southeast and Gulf Coast
When you live in a condominium, insurance issues get complicated. Condos aren’t like homes or businesses, which tend to be freestanding and separate buildings. With a condo, you and your neighbors have common parking, landscaping, stairs, pools, and all-purpose rooms. Units are attached to each other, and if one unit suffers significant damage, it can affect all the units around it.
If you need help untangling a condo insurance matter, the Louisiana insurance dispute attorneys at Warhurst Law can help. We know the difference between individual condo owner claims and homeowner association (HOA) claims, and protect the rights of policyholders. Firm founder Gene Warhurst puts his previous experience as an insurance claims adjuster to work for you to ensure you’re treated fairly throughout the claims process. And if you’re not, our team will fight for you.
What makes condo insurance coverage different than homeowner coverage?
Condos and houses are similar in that you own them and are responsible for what happens to them. However, there are some key differences between the two in terms of insurance coverage. For example, when you purchase a home, you’re responsible for what happens to the inside, the outside, and the land where your home sits. With a condo, you’re usually only responsible for what happens inside your four walls. Common areas, like the outside of the building and parking lots, are owned by you and your fellow condo owners and insured through your HOA.
Don’t rely on your HOA to provide coverage for any damage or losses – you should always have your own separate condo insurance policy, and most mortgage lenders won’t work with you unless you have one.
What does my condo insurance cover? What does HOA insurance cover?
Condo insurance, also called HO6 insurance, covers property damage and liability risks that occur inside your condo. When shopping for or reviewing potential policies, ensure you read your HOA policy first to see how much coverage it provides. You can find out where your private policy intersects with the HOA’s master policy. These policy terms can be complex and hard to understand for a layperson, but Warhurst Law can help you make sense of it all.
HOA insurance coverage
Common keywords you might run across in your HOA insurance policy include “all in,” “all inclusive,” “bare walls in,” or “wall studs in.” These terms let you know the level of protection an HOA policy provides. Insurance.com explains, in order of most to least protection:
- All in and all inclusive. This protects the exterior and interior of all units’ surfaces, including fixtures, installations, and additions. Individual owners are responsible for personal property.
- Special entity. This protects the exterior and interior of all units’ surfaces, including fixtures. However, it doesn’t cover structural improvements or additions. Individual owners are responsible for personal property.
- Bare walls in or wall studs in. This protects only the bare structure. Individual owners are responsible for all the condo’s interior contents, including bathroom and kitchen fixtures and countertops, as well as your personal property.
HO6 insurance coverage
Your own condo insurance policy typically provides coverage for the following:
- Your unit/dwelling, including any improvements or additions
- Personal property and belongings
- Living expenses if your home is uninhabitable
- Liability coverage if an accident occurs
Most standard insurance policies will not cover flood damage, so if you live in an area prone to flooding, consider a separate flood insurance policy.
How do I file a claim for losses when my New Orleans condo is damaged?
Filing a claim for damages when you live in a condo is a bit more complicated than a traditional homeowners policy. Typically, there are two factors insurance companies look at when determining who is responsible for payment:
- What property was damaged. Did the damage occur inside or outside the condo? If it happened within the walls, it’s likely your responsibility to repair. If it happened outside your unit, it’s likely the responsibility of your HOA. However, if your home suffers damage inside from a cause outside (like water damage indoors from a leaky roof), you may have to investigate to find out which policy applies.
- What caused the damage. Fire, flood, hurricane, storm, building collapse? If a loss occurs due to poor maintenance by the HOA, they should be responsible for damages. If a destructive event affects only your unit, you may be responsible for coverage. However if something like a storm or hurricane affects every unit, there may be questions about whether the HOA or HO6 policy provides coverage.
Find out the deductible of your HOA’s policy so you’ll know how much you may have to pay out of pocket if you need to submit a claim through your condo association. Losses that either policy may cover include:
- Fire and smoke damage
- Water damage from burst pipes
- Wind damage for windows or roofs
- Mold damage
You may have to coordinate insurance claims after a disaster, as your repairs may affect your neighbor’s repairs, and vice-versa. You may find your New Orleans HOA uncooperative or moving too slowly for you to begin getting your life back to normal. Sometimes your interests and the interests of the HOA will overlap – and sometimes they won’t. Your insurance dispute attorney can help you through this process.